Hundreds rally in Los Angeles in solidarity with Egypt protests [UPDATES; VIDEO]
Supporters of the protests in Egypt rallied in Los Angeles on Saturday and Saturday, February 5 and 6, for the second consecutive weekend.
[UPDATE] Approximately 75 Egyptians, Egyptian Americans and activists, including representatives of the Society of Egyptian Americans, demonstrated outside the Egyptian consulate’s local office, calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian consulate’s office is located at Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Watch the video below from the demonstration on Sunday, February 6.
[UPDATE] Among the demonstrators at a rally on Sunday was Sayed Badreya, an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films “Iron Man, “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and “Three Kings.”
“We’re not about [the] Muslim Brotherhood. We’re not about leftist or right. We’re about Egypt,” Badreya said.
Fouad Gohan, a 25-year-old who lives in Los Angeles and grew up in Egypt, attended the demonstration on Sunday. He vocalized his opposition to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but said that he has cousins in Cairo who support Mubarak, at least more than he does. His cousins, he said, have watched Egyptian state television, which has made them believe that Mubarak is best for Egypt and that the protests in Egypt are harmful to the country, politically and economically. They are afraid to participate in the protests, Gohan said.
Linda Krausen stood across the street and held up large handcuffs made out of Styrofoam and tin foil and signs that called for the arrest of Mubarak. Krausen said that she used the same handcuffs in a previous demonstration against Karl Rove, who was senior advisor to George W. Bush, when Rove came to Los Angeles for a speaking event.
Krausen, who lives in South Pasadena and works as a Spanish interpreter for a government agency and attends Rosh Hashanah services at Nashuva, a synagogue in Los Angeles, said that the young protestors in Egypt view religion the way she does: “I’m a Jew, and I have my religion, [but] I just want justice,” she said.
[UPDATE] Watch interviews below from the demonstration on Sunday, February 6.
On Saturday, February 5, hundreds of demonstrators, including Egyptians, Egyptian Americans and representatives of L.A.-based activist organizations, gathered outside the Federal Building in Westwood and denounced the United States alliance with President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and called for Mubarak to resign from power.
Video from the demonstration on Saturday, February 5:
Egyptians have been protesting in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities for the past 12 days, while the Obama administration has tried to facilitate a transition of power in Egypt that would have the country’s current vice president Omar Suleiman negotiating with the anti-Mubarak groups.
Tamer Ali, an organizer of the Los Angeles rally, estimated that 500 people attended on Saturday. Much of the organizing beforehand was done on Facebook, with AnswerLA, SocialistWorker and the Party for Socialism and Liberation endorsing the demonstration. People representing the AnswerLA coaliation, SocialistWorker and Party for Socialiam and Liberation turned out for the rally.
The demonstration began at 11:30 a.m., and many carried signs that said, “End U.S. Aid to Mubark Regime” and “Stand With the Egyptian People,” waved Egyptians flags and stood on the sidewalk facing Wilshire Boulevard, cheering whenever cars driving by honked.
Blase Bonpane, KPFK radio host and activist, addressed the crowd on Saturday and called for the need of a greater distinction between peaceful demonstrators in Egypt and others who are inciting violence.
Watch the video below of Bonpane speaking to the demonstrators on Saturday, February 5.
Mohamad Kolkela, one of the rally organizers, said that he wouldn’t oppose Suleiman leading negotiations in Egypt if there is a guarantee that he won’t run for president.
Los Angeles Police Department officials were at the scene on Saturday, but Ali and LAPD officers worked together on keeping the demonstration calm. Demonstrations last weekend also took place at the Federal Building and outside the Egyptian consulate’s local office.